There's an art to building the best team to win the talent war. These are the four strategies I recommend.

1. Use behavioral analytics to identify WHO candidates are, based on talent.

"Who" matters the most. Billions of dollars are spent trying to change people as opposed to starting with the right people in the first place.

If you aren't inherently tenacious, you aren't going to do more cold calling just because a book or coach tells you to. 

If you aren't extroverted, you aren't going to take a class and magically become the life of the party.

Yes, we can modify who we are. We do it all day. But at what cost? And how long will it last?

The employee who has to jump into someone else's skin before they walk through your front door will never flourish in their role.

Like Jim Collins said in Good to Great, "First who, then what."

To win the talent war, executives must have access to crisp people analytics to identify talent, be crystal clear on the talent they need, and relentlessly play to the inherent strengths of their teams.

2. Evaluate WHAT skills candidates possess.

The next variable is "what." 

"What" includes experience, skills, and education.

The perfect "who" bookkeepers won't be excellent on day one if they have never taken an accounting course. They would have the capacity to be great but would lack the necessary education and skill.

Every open position requires an analysis of how important "what" is compared to "who." If the skill can be taught in a short amount of time, "who" may be weighted as highly as 100 percent.

However, if the necessary skill set requires extended experience, the weighting on "what" would be heavier.

Adding skills tests to interviews can help measure "what" with objective data.

3. Build a world-class training organization to teach HOW to succeed in each role.

Just because someone has the right "who" and "what" doesn't mean they will succeed.

Businesses that don't have effective orientation and onboarding programs may set top talent up to fail.

Systems must be taught. Employees must have a clear understanding of hierarchy and how they fit in their role and in the company overall. Compensation plans must be consistent with "who" and "what."

Knowing which type of "who" you have can help you develop the right "how." Training everyone the same way is ill-advised.

4. Ensure everyone on the team believes wholeheartedly in your WHY.

"Why" is being clear on your mission, purpose, vision, and values. Top talent wants to know where you are going and why you want to get there. Plus they want a clear understanding on how they will help you get there.

Some companies have mundane values like "honesty, integrity, and service." This can be okay as long as the explanation of each tells a more specific story. But these are assumed to be true for every company.

What makes you unique? In general, polarizing values are better. They tell candidates exactly what you stand for in no uncertain terms.

Your "why" should make it clear who fits and who doesn't. 

The challenge: You must live your mission and values. You must hire and fire on your values. Every decision you make and everything you do should be clearly in alignment with your mission, vision, and values. And you must ensure everyone who you hire buys completely into your "why."

We are in a talent war. The most talented people have jobs. So how do you attract and retain top talent? By being clear and intentional on measuring and positioning your business with the right WHO, WHAT, HOW, and WHY.

Doug is a personality expert and advisor to more than 500 founders and CEOs worldwide. If you'd like to find out (for free) if you have the right "WHOs" on your senior leadership team, you can learn more at